William lane craig arguments

(John Dalton) #202

That’s a question, not a meaning.

Perhaps. Some people are not convinced that we possess clear knowledge of what existed when the universe emerged.

I don’t reject that possibility. I do believe that any such reality should be demonstrated however.

The third sentence is problematic for me. “Can” can mean “possibly can” or “definitely has the ability to”.

Could you restate it?

If you accept the reality of God, there doesn’t seem to be much point to Craig’s argument.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #203


I do not know from where you are getting your information because it is dead wrong.

The curvature of space is caused by gravity. Gravity also causes light to bend. Indeed the curvature of space and the curvature of light are practically the same, so it is NOT a barrier to observing the rest of the universe.

The only thing that keeps us from observing the rest of our universe is distance. In fact we have been able to look deeper and deeper into space as our telescopes have improved, particularly with the Hubble telescope. Even though galaxies are moving away from us, they are not moving away faster then the speed of light.

In addition all of space that we have observed, which is not all but would seem to be a very good sample indicates no surprises. It is all basically the same as we would expect.

Therefore I would say that if you are trying to build a NoGod of the Gaps, this is not a good area to find a problem. The observable universe is solid and confirms the Big Bang out of Nothing.


Nothing in the Big Bang theory says that space and time originated with the singularity. Your question does not concur with what I am saying.


“A cosmological horizon is a measure of the distance from which one could possibly retrieve information.[1] This observable constraint is due to various properties of general relativity, the expanding universe, and the physics of Big Bang cosmology. Cosmological horizons set the size and scale of the observable universe.”–Wiki

If I understand the math correctly, you can mathematically model our universe’s cosmological horizon using the equations describing a de Sitter space:

How so?

(Luca) #206

But there was no time before the big bang?


No one knows.

(Luca) #208

Is what she’s saying wrong then?

We can define the universe as everything there is, so in that case there is nothing outside of it. We also say that space and time both started at the Big Bang and therefore there was nothing before it.
Another definition for the universe is the observable universe - which is the part of it that we can technically see. We cannot know what is outside of that (since we can’t observe it), but we think that physics works the same everywhere and so we think that it should be very similar to the observable universe. We actually think that the universe might be infinite in extent, and so goes on forever, even though we can only see a finite part of it.
We can speculate in meta-physics or in religion about what was before the Big Bang, but again, we cannot use science to tell anything about it as physics as we understand it breaks down at that point.

from http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/the-universe/cosmology-and-the-big-bang/101-the-universe/cosmology-and-the-big-bang/general-questions/585-what-was-there-before-the-big-bang-and-what-is-there-outside-of-our-universe-beginner

Or have i totally lost the concept :rofl:


I agree with much of what she says. We can define the universe as everything there is, but you don’t settle matters in science by simply defining things. At one time we defined the universe as just the Milky Way, but that didn’t make the rest of the galaxies disappear.

In other parts she states many things that I would agree with, that there could be something outside of our universe, and that we just don’t know. We also don’t know what happened prior to the Big Bang.

(Luca) #210

Oooh i see. sorry i completely misunderstood what you said there!

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #211

@Totti Luca Is this your name?

@T_aquaticus used this definition as the one for the universe, but he was mistaken in saying that our ability to observe the universe is limited by the curvature of space. Thar is not true. It is limited by how far we can look into space, which has been improving.

What is true is that we can see much of space and as this definition says we think that it should be the same everywhere which it appears to be. As I said before we have every reason to think that the universe is not infinite, which is her issue.

To summarize: She said that our ability to observe is limited by the curvature of space and how fast space is expanding, which is not true. Then she claimed that because we could not observe the whole of the universe, we could be mistaken about its nature. That also is very doubtful as I explained.

The first and last statements are true.

Here she says that we cannot use science to tell us what happened before the Big Bang. The question to ask is why? The answer is that science does not work in the absence of matter, energy, time, and space. Therefore the fact that science breaks down at the Beginning indicates that there must be Nothing there or Something beyond the universe.

The problem is that @T_aquaticus does not want to make the choice.

(Luca) #212

I understand. Well i get what you guys are saying now. I was very confused about the horizon thing.

And yes! you can call me luca :slight_smile:

(GJDS) #213

It is worth noting that atheists of various sorts have been uncomfortable with the big bang theory for a very long time, and often predicted its demise. Yet since then, measurements and observations have been consistent with the big bang concept. Their position is untenable, especially those who “cry from the rooftops” that they are driven solely by observation, testing and measurement.

I have provided extracts of a letter to Nature by, of all people, a person in humanities and social sciences, dated 1990, to illustrate that their arguments have not changed, even though data and measurements have demonstrated the strength of the big bang – ironic, me thinks.




Just to add to the view that a beginning as a scientific observation is difficult, I add this: a beginning includes time-space, and a primordial “atom” needs to be considered as a “point” of commencement. The maths for this is truly esoteric and beyond my training.

Arguments that amount to, “we do not know, therefore we would say this and that” are beyond spurious and hint at a desperation by atheists.

My comments are meant to show those interested, that we cannot go beyond what is observed by scientists, and to differentiate accepted data from ramped speculation.

I have also pointed out that we may contemplate the doctrine of creation from nothing, without feeling we are in conflict with what science has observed. It is disappointing to note that this is taken by some to be “mixing theology and science” – it is clear that this statement is a false presentation of my comment.

(Luca) #214

Well you could call the universe 2 things though.
The observable universe that we know of. Or the universe as Everything.
I’m going to say the universe is everything in this one.
And @T_aquaticus is referring to the former.
Science isn’t able to get to before the big bang so it’s left to philosophy and theology.
And to this day we have 3 options laid out.

-Either something caused the universe to begin.

-Nothing caused the universe but it began anyway via quantum mechanics etc.

-Or the universe has always existed.
(You could also just say i don’t know but if you deal with the kalam this is unsatisfactory.)

And to me #1 is the most logical and reasonable.


It is also worth noting that many theists are uncomfortable with the Big Bang theory. In fact, I would hazard a guess that the number of theists in the US who are hoping for the demise of the theory massively outnumber the number of atheists who hope for the same.

Just goes to show that being wrong is a commonality across many worldviews.

First, you say this:

And then you say this:

Do you see the problem? You are doing the very thing that you are chiding atheists for doing.

I see nothing wrong with putting forth speculations, and being forthright enough to say that they are speculations. I see nothing wrong with being curious and using our own brain power to try and come up with solutions.

Surely you can see how rejecting evidence because it conflicts one’s religious beliefs can pose a problem for doing science.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #216


  1. Something (physical) caused the universe to begin. God is not a thing i.e. physical as people define that word. Quantum field is a thing, so this favors this type of answer. The problem with this answer is that the physical is finite, so it is not eternal by definition, so what caused the universe cannot be physical in nature.

  2. Nothing (physical) caused the universe, but it began anyway. God is the best answer here, because God is not a thing.

  3. The universe has always existed, (so it is not physical or finite.)


When the combined velocity of expansion exceeds the speed of light that creates a cosmological horizon. Due to dark energy, the expansion of our universe is accelerating. What this means is that over time there will be distant galaxies that forever disappear from our sight because the rate of expansion between us and that distant galaxy exceeds the speed of light. One day in the very distant future, our galaxy will be the only galaxy in our observable universe if this accelerated expansion continues.

That depends on how you define it. You can travel for an infinite distance on the surface of the Earth without ever hitting the end of it. The question in cosmology is if our universe is the same, and perhaps even curved in higher dimensions.

(Luca) #218

Hmm i’m not sure that is the right way to put it. I defined the universe as everything.
So if this universe had a beginning. then i put as a logical possibility 1: something caused it to begin.
This cause must be external to the universe itself. It doesn’t have to be God it can concur with the multiverse theory for example. Physical isn’t the right word.

Also no need to put physical here. This is the other possibility. And examples are quantum mechanics.

I dont get your point here.

(GJDS) #219

We need to be careful how we state some things - we infer a beginning from the data (eg background radiation, rate of expansion, and so on), and this is because a model (the big bang) fits in with this data.

It is worth pointing out that models are constructed in science because we do not know enough, and these are useful tools to examine what we know, and also enable us to formulate questions on what we need to further our understanding.

By stipulating a point as a beginning, without the normal space and time dimension, we are in a very difficult territory as scientists. However, our model stipulates a past within the normal frame of time, so we cannot ignore the necessity of a beginning.

Looking for a cause at a time which is zero means we are leaving science, because we understand causality within a space-time framework. If we stipulate a beginning which leads to time and space, our usual understanding of causality breaks down. As I mentioned some esoteric work is done on such matters, but last time I looked, it is speculative and has not reached the stage of testability - I would be very interested if someone can show me otherwise.

That is what I mean when I say, we look elsewhere for a reasonable outlook. This “elsewhere” is one of choice - as a theist I look to theology for a reasonable outlook, but not at the expense of science.

If someone rejects theology, obviously they would look elsewhere - however they too must not turn science into an ideology to promote their chosen outlook.

(GJDS) #220

An interesting report has appeared on the BBC web site, quoting a paper in Nature, and (since data was made in Australia) I feel it is worth noting re age of the universe discussions:

Scientists say they have observed a signature on the sky from the very first stars to shine in the Universe.

They did it with the aid of a small radio telescope in the Australian outback that was tuned to detect the earliest ever evidence for hydrogen.

This hydrogen was in a state that could only be explained if it had been touched by the intense light of stars.

The team puts the time of this interaction at a mere 180 million years after the Big Bang.

Given that the cosmos is roughly 13.8 billion years old, it means the first stars lit up a full nine billion years before even our own Sun flickered into life.

Dr Judd Bowman of Arizona State University, US, is the lead author on the scholarly paper describing the observation in the journal Nature.

He told BBC News that the discovery’s great significance meant his group had to be absolutely sure no mistakes were made.

“We first started seeing signs in our data back in late 2015. And we’ve really spent the last couple of years trying to think of all sorts of possible alternative explanations, and then rule them out one by one,” he said.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #221

Ridiculous. Clever how he threw in a ‘critique of Carrol’s model’ and supposed weaknesses of Carrol’s model as if Sean Carrol is even arguing that his model is even a correct understanding of the early universe. If it really was, Sean would have won a Nobel Prize and nobody would be trying to figure it out still!

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to build such a philosophical framework to try and answer a scientific question. A telling part of his response is when WLC says:

Carroll rather surprised me by insisting that we ought to base our conclusions, not on theorems, but on models

My personal note is that this surprise is because WLC has absolutely no idea what it looks like for real Cosmologists to try and figure out what happened ‘in the beginning.’ Some cute little philosophical argument is worthless in the field of science and should never go around parading as if it should be there.